Annual health checks

Regular vet visits are important for all pets to ensure they stay healthy and happy for as long as possible. Just because your pet doesn’t seem ill, doesn’t mean you can skip an important annual health check. Remember, pets can’t talk and tell you what is wrong. It is your responsibility as pet owner to keep track of any symptoms that your pet may show, which can be anything from difficulty getting up in the morning to loss of appetite.

Animals of different life stages will need different things done or checked at each visit. These are your pet’s ages or life stages with what should be done:

Puppies less than one year old

  1. Puppies should be vaccinated at six and nine weeks of age with a five-in-one vaccine, and at each visit a full physical exam, faecal exam and deworming should be done.
  2. Tick and flea prevention should be discussed and strictly adhered to throughout the pet’s life.
  3. At 12 weeks of age the puppy should get all the above and a rabies vaccination.
  4. The rabies vaccination needs to be boosted again after about a month and then given yearly.
  5. Puppies should also be sterilised at about six months of age, if they haven’t been sterilised by the breeder.

Kittens less than one year old

  1. All kittens should be vaccinated at eight and 12 weeks with a three-in-one vaccination.
  2. An FIV/FeLV test should be performed at the first visit.
  3. Discuss the ideal tick and flea prevention programme with your vet, which should be adhered to for the rest of her life.
  4. At 12 weeks of age the kitten should also receive a rabies vaccination.
  5. The rabies vaccination needs to be boosted again after about a month and then given yearly.
  6. If the kitten hasn’t been sterilised by the breeder, she should be sterilised at about six months of age.

Adult dogs and cats one to six years old

  1. A full physical exam should take place once a year.
  2. The rabies vaccination should be administered once a year.
  3. The standard core vaccines (as given to the puppy or kitten) should be repeated one year after the last vaccination and then every three years after that, or as recommend by your vet.
  4. Full-screening blood work should be done at least every two years.
  5. Pets should be dewormed regularly – ideally every three to six months depending on their environment.
  6. As dental disease differs between the various breeds, dental health should be discussed with the vet at each visit and the necessary steps taken, such as a scale and polish.
  7. Whether cats have access to the outdoors or not, they should have an FIV/FeLV test done annually.

Senior pets seven years and older

  1. Senior pets require a full physical exam every six months.
  2. They should be monitored for weight changes.
  3. The vet should discuss age-related diet changes.
  4. Chest and abdominal x-rays, an electrocardiogram and a blood pressure measurement (especially with cats) should be done yearly along with full blood work so that age-related diseases like kidney and heart disease and arthritis can be identified early and treatment can be implemented.
  5. Dental cleaning as needed should also be performed at each visit.
  6. The vaccinations should still continue as stated above.
  7. Regular deworming and tick and flea control programmes should be maintained.


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